Incfile vs ZenBusiness

Forming a new LLC or corporation can feel intimidating. There are many steps to take, and ensuring accuracy is vital to avoid problems down the road. For entrepreneurs, the initial business formation process can be complex to navigate - but it doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, services like Incfile and ZenBusiness are making the business formation experience much simpler. 

Essentially, these services help guide you through the process for forming a new LLC or corporation. They work directly with the relevant departments in each US state, and provide guidance and intuitive online tools to make your job easier. 

While both ZenBusiness and Incfile can be great choices for entrepreneurs and founders, there are some key differences to consider. In this guide, we’ll compare Incfile vs ZenBusiness to help you select the right option for your situation.

Incfile vs ZenBusiness: Quick look

To compare these two services, let’s first start with the basics: What are these small business formation services all about, and why should you consider using them?

Similarities between Incfile and ZenBusiness

  • Both provide an easy way to form a new LLC or corporation online
  • Both are compatible with rules in all US states
  • You work directly with Incfile/Zenbusiness; the service corresponds with your state
  • Both help you fill out articles of organization, operating agreement, and other necessary documents
  • Both provide Registered Agent services - all LLCs are required to have a Registered Agent to handle legal correspondence (although you can technically serve as your own agent in many states)
  • Both have a variety of plans and packages to choose from
  • Both offer lifetime customer support
  • Both can help with ongoing compliance, such as the filing of annual reports to keep your company in good standing with state and federal agencies

Differences between Incfile and ZenBusiness

  • Incfile supports the formation of partnerships and nonprofits; ZenBusiness does not 
  • ZenBusiness is a subscription service, with annual billing; Incfile has both one-time fee and subscription options, depending on the features you choose
  • Incfile has plans from $0; ZenBusiness starts at $129
  • ZenBusiness has a “build your own plan” feature, while Incfile only has premade packages

Check out our roundup of Best LLC Services

Incfile basics

Incfile is an online service that focuses primarily on business formation. Their tagline, “Where Business Begins”, perfectly encapsulates their approach to service offerings. Incfile can help you form the following business structures:

  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC)
  • Corporations (C-corp and S-corp)
  • Nonprofit corporations
  • Partnerships (LP and LLP)

Incfile is perhaps best-known for their $0 Silver package. This plan is free - you simply pay for the state filing fees, which go directly to your state. This is the cheapest way to form a new LLC, as it does not cost any more than what you would spend doing all the work yourself. 

The company has been in business since 2004, and has helped form more than 250,000 businesses. So, suffice it to say, Incfile has the experience to ensure accurate and timely business registration services. 

A core part of Incfile’s business strategy is to recommend products and services to their customers. For instance, many plans come with a business bank account, a business website, and more - all of which are offered by partners of Incfile. This is how Incfile is able to offer such competitive pricing, as they have financial relationships with these partner organizations

See the full review of Incfile here.


ZenBusiness basics

ZenBusiness is a subscription-based business services provider. Like Incfile, the core offering of ZenBusiness is business formation. The service can help you form:

  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC)
  • Corporation (S-corp or C-corp)

ZenBusiness is primarily known for excellent customer support, and very good customer reviews. ZenBusiness has earned excellent ratings on TrustPilot, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and other review aggregators. Compared to Incfile, ZenBusiness has a better reputation overall. 

ZenBusiness is a newer company, founded in 2015. Since then, they’ve helped tens of thousands of business owners form new companies. While ZenBusiness is not as old or experienced as Incfile, they have quickly developed a reputation as one of the most trustworthy providers in the industry. 

ZenBusiness’ model is subscription-based. Plans start at $129/year, and all plans include Registered Agent services. This point is important: Registered Agent services alone cost around $119/year at Incfile, so while ZenBusiness’ pricing may seem steep at first, it’s actually quite similar to competitors.

See the full review of ZenBusiness here.


Incfile vs ZenBusiness: Pricing

Pricing is a substantial factor when comparing any two products or services. The biggest difference here is that ZenBusiness is a subscription service, while Incfile is marketed as a one-time fee (although Incfile’s Registered Agent service will automatically renew, if you don’t cancel it). 

Of course, ZenBusiness can also be cancelled at any time, if you don’t need the ongoing Registered Agent service. Essentially, this is just a difference in the way each service is marketed; in reality, their pricing structures and ongoing fees are very similar. The full breakdown of pricing for these two services is found below:

Incfile pricing

  • Silver Package - $0 + state fees - standard features, standard filing speed. Includes 1-year free Registered Agent services (renews at $119/year).
  • Gold Package - $149 + state fees - Express shipping, includes EIN, operating agreement and banking resolution.
  • Platinum Package - $299 + state fees - Expedited filing + shipping, includes extra templates, business domain/email, and more.

ZenBusiness pricing

  • Starter Package - $129/year + state fees - standard features, standard filing speed. Includes ongoing Registered Agent services.
  • Pro Package - $249/year + state fees - expedited filing speed, includes EIN, corporate bylaws, banking resolution, business document and contract templates, and more.
  • Premium Package - $349/year + state fees - rush filing service, includes business domain name, business email, website, and more. 

As you can see, Incfile is a bit cheaper, but ZenBusiness has a bit more features included. Incfile’s basic package is certainly a great deal - it’s tough to beat $0 for the first year (although remember that this plan renews at $119/year, unless you cancel Registered Agent services). Overall, the value of each service is relatively similar, as ZenBusiness features certainly justify their somewhat higher cost. 

Each service also offers various additional services and add-ons, priced individually. Additional fees may apply in some situations. 

You’ll notice that each charges state fees separately. This is true of all LLC formation services and service providers. States charge various filing fees, depending on the business entity type. This money goes directly to the state. 

Incfile vs ZenBusiness: Features

When it comes to the features and services found in the basic plans from Incfile and ZenBusiness, the functionality is quite similar

  • Both help you prepare and file your articles of incorporation/organization, which is the baseline requirement to open a new corporation/LLC in most states. 
  • Both also serve as your Registered Agent for one year (with the option to keep the service long-term). And both make it easy to search for an available company name with a business name availability search.

ZenBusiness offers more templates and resources than Incfile, including a draft operating agreement, banking resolution, and other useful business document templates.

On the other hand, Incfile supports partnership and nonprofits, while ZenBusiness does not. Obviously, this is not relevant if you just plan to form an LLC; but it’s important to keep in mind for those with business partners, or anyone looking to start a charitable organization. 

Both ZenBusiness and Incfile offer a variety of free services or specially-priced offers from partner companies. For instance, both have plans which include a business website, and both recommend various financial products (credit cards, business bank accounts, etc.) at favorable terms. 

As for turnaround time, both services are similar. The processing time (on the service’s end) depends on the package you choose. The true turnaround time, including the time it takes for the state to process your documents, varies drastically. Some states can finish the process in just a few business days; others may take weeks or even months. You’ll see a preview of expected turnaround time for various formation packages when you make your selection. 

Overall, features between these two incorporation services are remarkably similar. The distribution of those features between the various package tiers is different, however. 

ZenBusiness vs Incfile: Customer service

Overall, ZenBusiness wins out in this category. They are available for longer hours during the week, and also available on Sundays. ZenBusiness also has chat support, while Incfile only has phone/email. 

Plus, ZenBusiness support has earned higher marks in customer feedback. Incfile has good reviews on some websites, but on Trustpilot, BBB, etc. their track record is mediocre at best. 

Customer support is another very important consideration when choosing a partner for your new business. 

  • ZenBusiness customer support agents are available via phone, online chat, and email. Phone reps can be reached Monday - Friday from 8am - 8pm CST, as well as on Sunday from 10am - 7pm CST.
  • Incfile customer support agents are available via phone and email. Phone reps can be reached Monday - Friday from 9am to 6pm CST. 

Which should you choose?

We’ve gone over the nitty-gritty of these two services. But what’s the bottom line? Which should you choose to help you form a new LLC?

Choose Incfile if…

  • You want the cheapest option possible. It’s tough to beat Incfile’s $0 plan.
  • You don’t plan to keep Registered Agent services. Incfile is a better value for initial business formation, if you plan to appoint yourself or an employee as your Registered Agent. 
  • You may change your business structure in the future. Incfile has more options for business conversions, amendments, etc.
  • You want to form a nonprofit or partnership. ZenBusiness does not currently support these business structures. 

Choose ZenBusiness if…

  • You want to work with a company with a great reputation. ZenBusiness’ customer reviews are superior to Incfile’s. 
  • You plan to keep Registered Agent services long-term. ZenBusiness’ plans all include Registered Agent + more, and more value overall in the long-run.
  • You want to build your own plan. ZenBusiness lets you start from scratch, adding on just the services that you actually need. 

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